YES. A long break abroad – CHT provides the ideal conditions

At CHT Switzerland AG, extended breaks of more than 4 weeks at a time are possible once every 5 years. The big advantage here is that during my long break I continued to receive my salary because I was able to take this time off with all my annual leave and some overtime. To make this happen, I had to submit my request to my supervisor at an early date and arrange for someone to stand in for me. This request then had to be approved in writing by the management team and entered into my personnel file. That’s it!

I can discover the world and pursue my career

After completing my bachelor’s degree in Textile Design and Technology, I was eager to go abroad for an extended period of time to further my personal development. So I seized the initiative and set about organising it. I clarified my options for an extended leave of absence from CHT because I didn’t want to give up my job. After receiving the go-ahead from CHT and looking into possible countries to visit, I booked my flights. Japan, Hawaii, Florida – those were my original destinations. Then I had to wait until the adventure could begin. I was so much looking forward to it!

I react flexibly to changes

… and then came the pandemic. Who could have anticipated something like that? Roughly 3 months before the start of my trip, all flights were cancelled and all countries imposed entry restrictions. But I was determined not to give up. So I first rearranged my travel plans with CHT and then set about checking the entry restrictions of my destinations. It quickly became clear that a trip to Japan would be impossible. After extensive research, I was able to piece together a new itinerary that fortunately allowed me to redeem almost all of my flight vouchers: Panama – Hawaii – California. Of course, the coronavirus was still surging before the journey began in late 2021. Discovering new countries and cultures in the midst of the ongoing pandemic? Yes, it can be done! Because vaccines are now available, it is possible again to enter many countries in the world. So we left Zurich for Panama City on 12 December 2021. It was ‘goodbye Switzerland’ for 2 whole months.

I learn about history, languages and cultures

Bienvenidos a América Latina!

We started in stunning Panama City. From there we went to the popular Playa Venao, on to tranquil Santa Catalina in the middle of the jungle, then to the small mountain village of Boquete and finally to the colourful Bocas del Toro. Panama is such an enchanting country. My highlights were learning about the history and watching the ships pass through the Panama Canal. Plus there was the country’s vibrant flora and fauna, and the genuine zest for life and the colourful Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean. And what signs of the pandemic did we notice in this country? Only that we were unable to visit paradise on earth – San Blas – because of restrictions recently introduced by the indigenous people. But no matter, we still had more than 7 weeks of wonderful experiences and destinations to look forward to. After a brief side trip to the inimitable Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica, we then travelled from San José to Honolulu.


In Hawaii, we started on the island of Oahu. We spent New Year’s Eve in the big city of Honolulu and then drove to Haleiwa on the North Shore, where we experienced the laid-back surfer lifestyle. Then we headed to the island of Maui, where we rented a camper van. We drove our new set of wheels on the adventurous Road to Hana and travelled to Olowalu to watch humpback whales. Our last island was the volcanic rock-strewn Big Island, where we first explored Hilo on the north-east coast and then Kailua-Kona on the south-west coast. My highlights of the trip to the Hawaiian Islands were the breathtaking nature in the forests and mountains, the diversity of the islands, the laid-back surfing lifestyle, the lava lake in the active Kilauea volcano and the awe-inspiring power of erupting volcanoes. Mahalo that I was able to experience all this.

Welcome to the Golden State!

In California, we started in the sprawling city of Los Angeles with its famous Hollywood Boulevard, Universal Studios, Santa Monica and Griffith Park. In San Diego, we were able to cycle along Mission Beach, watch sea lions along the coast and stroll through the lively Gaslamp Quarter. Then we headed for Las Vegas: a huge city with millions of people in the middle of the Nevada desert! Casinos open around the clock, great shows, activities and attractions on the Strip, Fremont Street in the city centre, etc. This city is absolutely bananas. After this amazing (insane!?) experience, we headed along Highway 1 towards Santa Cruz and San Francisco. If you’re going to San Francisco, you’ll see the world-famous cable cars, colourful street art, the Golden Gate Bridge, the big Golden Gate Park, sea lions on Pier 39, the former prison of Alcatraz and unfortunately a great deal of poverty and homelessness.

After taking time off, I can deliver my very best once again

After 2 months of great travel experiences, I returned to my everyday working life in early February 2022 feeling balanced, refreshed and invigorated. For me, this trip had nothing to do with my professional development, but it was a very enriching personal experience. During this time off, I learned a great deal about our world and its kaleidoscope of cultures. I was able to improve my language skills, be inspired by people from all over the world, understand and experience history and ultimately broaden my horizons. The organisational challenges of international travel during a pandemic have also been quite a learning experience for me. I am grateful that I was able to undertake such a journey while employed by CHT on a permanent basis.

Sandra Inauen
Koordinatorin / Teamleiterin im Technical Service Textile Auxiliaries
„YES. Ich finde die Ursache von textilen Problemen.“